Frittata and Adulthood

I’m attempting to be an adult. Do all those things that grownups do. Put away a percentage of my paycheck, talk about the stock market, get pre-approved for a house. You know, general adult-ing. Perhaps it’s because I’m going to be 30 at the end of the year. Perhaps it’s because my brother and sister-in-law brought a little human into the world that has become my everything. Whatever it is, there’s something in the air that’s telling me to plant roots. Instead of trying to scheme what’s next, I’m attempting to slow down and find my footing.

I have always been proud of my determination and drive. I won’t take no for an answer, and it’s something that has brought me a lot of amazing opportunities. I will continue to get loud about the things that matter. I will continue to push and create and dream big. That is just who I am, and some things never change.

This new version is just a little more settled. A little more content with the idea of building a home in a new town surrounded by the people I love more than anything. I’ve always felt that I had to wait for everything to be perfect. I haven’t found my dream man, I don’t know if I want kids, and I am not sure if I have enough money to be considered a real adult… I’m an incomplete puzzle.

It recently dawned on me that I shouldn’t wait around for those things to fall into place. Who knows if any one man will live up to that extremely high bar I’ve set. Who knows if I’ll finally fall into the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ camp of motherhood. Who knows if my savings account will ever be considered robust.

That’s just life, I suppose.

All I know is that there’s a little house waiting for me in a sleepy city south of Seattle. A house with a big yard and sun stained floors. I told my real estate agent that I require 3 things: natural light, a big yard, and a neighborhood I love. The rest? The rest I can fix.

The house I’m working on buying is perfection. It’s a tiny home on a street that is a mile from my family and my best friend. A house that has been lovingly cared for by a man who tends to his garden daily, making friends with hummingbirds and neighborhood crows. He told me the lawn smells like honeysuckle on summer evenings. To say I’m excited to brew sun tea and smell the air this summer is an understatement.

I’m ready to make a home for myself. I’ll let the rest of my unmatched pieces do their own thing… I’ll figure it out, eventually.

One step at a time.

Asparagus and Mushroom Frittata

I did the whole30 in April, which means my life was full of vegetables, fruit, eggs, and seafood. It was delicious and wonderful, but I was ready for some chickpeas, quinoa, chocolate, and whiskey to be placed in my mouth. It’s weird what you crave when you restrict your diet. Chickpeas?! Who knew I loved those little legumes so much.

But back to eggs. God love ‘em, after 30 straight days of hard boiled eggs as your go-to, you get egg fatigue REAL fast. Enter: The frittata, a wonderfully easy meal that hits the spot. Because it’s spring in Seattle, everything delicious is showing up at the Ballard Farmers Market. This frittata was a hodge-podge of all the spring goodness, and it turned out delicious. Feel free to substitute whatever kind of vegetable your heart desires, it’s hard to mess up this dish.

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ white onion
  • 2 gloves garlic
  • ½ bunch asparagus
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Warm the olive oil in a cast iron pan over medium heat. Saute onion in olive oil for 3 minutes, until slightly translucent. Add in minced garlic and sauté for another 2-3 minutes. Chop off the ends of the asparagus and cut into bite size pieces. Throw in the pan with the garlic and onion. Once soft, add in the mushrooms and saute for another couple of minutes. Lastly, add in the kale and wilt slightly. Pop in the oven for 20-25 minutes, remove and let cool slightly. Once cool enough to eat without burning the top of your mouth (I do it every.damn.time) sprinkle with nutritional yeast and enjoy!

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Tacos and the Utah Desert

Sometimes all you need is a trip to Utah with your best friend.

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I had hit my wall with writing. I would circle around a subject, draft three pages of dribble, and then quit without saving. My words fell flat and I blamed it on the redundancy of my life. I would wake up, walk Zep, work 10 hours, walk Zep again, and go to sleep. Of course this is melodramatic. My life is full of baby snuggles and trips to the top of the Empire State Building. But when I sat down to write, my brain went blank.

And then I went to the desert.

As someone who finds peace in being outside, I knew that the national parks of Utah would steal my heart. I had seen pictures and read enough Terry Tempest Williams to know that this part of the world holds an unmatched beauty. Everything around me was painted in red. The spires were as tall as skyscrapers, the canyons as deep as the ocean, and the dry air was filled with the scent of sage and sunshine.

Tracey and I did what you’re supposed to do on vacation, we meandered. When we wanted to hike, we hiked. When we wanted to drink beer, we drank beer. When the thunderstorms rolled in and the thought of setting up camp sounded awful, we got a cheap motel room and acquainted ourselves with the joys of Moab. We read books and made fires. We went to bed early, snuggling deep into our sleeping bags to fight off the bitter cold of desert nights. We chased the sunset at the grand canyon, running in flip flops to make sure we caught the moment the sun dipped low enough to paint the canyon walls a deep purple. On my favorite morning, we drove to Zion as the sun was rising and spent the morning in the Devil’s Garden. Scampering up rocks and wading through puddles turned to pools, we found ourselves on the top of the world.

And, because we’ve been best friends since birth, we ended the trip in Disneyland. While that place is hell to some people, it’s the place we have always associated with magic. Acting like kids in a candy shop, we got there before the gates opened, making a mad dash to be the first in line for Space Mountain. We made a list of all the must-do rides, eating sickly sweet churros and mapping the best route to avoid the children on the verge of breakdowns.

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There is no one I would have rather done this trip with, and I came back a completely refreshed human.

There is so much perspective to be gained when you take a step out of your life and sink into a place of grandeur. The world is such an epic place and we are such tiny blips. So many of my concerns are in trivial things that don’t matter in the grand scheme of things. There were so many ah-ha moments on this trip, and I am back to feeling like myself. I came home with a very solid grasp of what’s important, and I am determined to move through life full of that desert joy. Who knew Utah would give me so much?

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In the desert there is space. Space is the twin sister of time. If we have open space then we have open time to breathe, to dream, to dare, to play, to pray to move freely, so freely, in a world our minds have forgotten but our bodies remember. Time and space. This partnership is holy. In these redrock canyons, time creates space–an arch, an eye, this blue eye of sky. We remember why we love the desert; it is our tactile response to light, to silence, and to stillness. – Terry Tempest Williams

Camp Tacos

It’s no surprise that tacos are my favorite food. When shopping for our trip, we knew the first meal on the menu were camp tacos. They are easy, they are delicious, and they can be repurposed in the morning for breakfast tacos. This recipe is best accompanied with a campfire and a cold beer, but if those aren’t in your near future, you can enjoy them in the comfort of your home. Side note: we forgot beans so we substituted chili which was weirdly delicious.

  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • ½ bunch of dino kale, chopped
  • ½ can of chili or black beans
  • Cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • Flour or corn tortillas
  • Avocado
  • Sour cream
  • Salsa

I think y’all know how to make a taco. But here’s how to do it while camping. Step one, have a headlamp if, like us, you come back after dark. Forget a sharp knife? US TOO! We had a weirdly sharp butter knife, and I only nicked my finger once. Chop up the onion, bell pepper and kale while the oil is heating. Saute onion first for 3-5 minutes, add in the bell pepper and sauté for another 5 minutes. Add in the chili or beans, as dirtying another pan would be silly when camping. Lastly, add in the kale and let wilt for another 2-3 minutes. Add in your spices and let everything simmer.

We transferred all of that to a bowl and cooked our eggs in the same pan because camp dishes aren’t fun. Warm the tortillas over the fire, and then pop your veggie/bean/chili mixture on there, and add some avocado, sour cream, and salsa.

Lastly, put an egg on it.

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Chili and Lopez Island

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Once upon a time, when women were birds, there was the simple understanding that to sing at dawn and to sing at dusk was to heal the world through joy. The birds still remember what we have forgotten, that the world is meant to be celebrated – Terry Tempest Williams.

It is hard to explain Lopez Island.

To some people, it’s just another beautiful place in the Pacific Northwest. A tiny speck in a state already decorated in shades of green and grey, awe inspiring no matter if you’ve lived here for 30 years or are exploring for the first time. This tiny speck is where a large portion of my heart belongs.

For the past five years my best friends and I regroup on this island. For a few days we forget that we are adults with big decisions and real responsibilities. When we are on Lopez, all that matters is what time we’re going to get our morning coffee. These ladies have lived in my soul for a span of 10-28 years… They get me.

Last year, their dreams were of houses and babies. They’ve figured out half of the equation, and they’re now imagining little feet and sticky hands leaving pint-sized prints everywhere they look. Not wanting little ones of my own, I have gladly volunteered to take the title of Aunty C. Someday I will steal my nephew for a summer and show him how to build a fire and make the perfect s’more.

So much can change in five years. The first year, our dreams were to graduate college and figure out what it meant to be a real adult. It has been a beautiful shift towards a greater sense of self and the stability we needed to settle our hearts. Through all the moves, broken hearts, new loves, and careers, these ladies have been the constant thread. They have been my touchstone and my sounding board. I have seen them fall in love, get married, question their life plans, and I have witnessed them settle into their beautiful skin and embrace it.

This year we found ourselves on the very southwest tip of the island. We sat at the edge, in a quiet grace and thankfulness for each other. Celebrating the fact that we will always have people in our lives that understand us. The world is meant to be celebrated, and I wouldn’t want to do it without them.

Until next year, Lopez. It’s-Finally-Raining Chili

It has been a very warm summer. The grass was brown before July 15th, which is shocking and somewhat scary for our forever green state. We woke up to rain the last day on the island, and I couldn’t wait to get home and make chili. I haven’t had the desire to make soup in months, and all I wanted to do was nest and spend time in my kitchen. This will stick to your ribs and is delicious with some tortilla chips or cornbread.

  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 bunch kale, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup water

Warm one tbsp. of coconut oil on medium high heat. Add in chopped onions and sauté for 5 minutes. Add in minced garlic and sauté for another 3 minutes. Add in all the beans + spices and water. Mix everything together and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn to low and let simmer for 5-10 minutes. Last but not least, add in the kale and let it wilt for another 3 minutes. Serve with some goat cheese and tortilla chips. Yum. Just all the goodness, perfect for a rainy summer day.

Pesto and Anniversaries

I have been in Austin for almost a year. As the months have gone by my hair has gotten shorter, all of my pants have become cut offs and Gertrude (that’s my bike) has become my best friend. The beginning of my time here was tough. Change has never been my forte, and although my sister was here, this place didn’t feel like home.

My heart was tethered fast to the mountains and coastline of Washington. It’s the place where I took my first steps, where I’ve held best friends for over a decade. Washington is where my grandma hosts Thanksgiving and Christmas, where I’ve left bits and pieces of my heart.  My first few months in Texas, I wore homesickness and nostalgia like a hat, a constant reminder of the comfort I had willingly left behind.

I came down here with the intention to will myself into a new person. Texas was my stepping-stone into shaping myself into a person that shed lingering jealousy, resentment and anxiety.  I looked to the Lone Star state as a refuge from all those mountains I had built out of mole hills. Washington, albeit my safety net and comfort, had left me wounded. I hobbled to Texas, hoping that I could sweat out all that had held me from happiness.

Thank the heavens that I found my stride. Back in December, I had it in my head that by August I would be loading up my Subaru and heading back into the grey and green. It was my every intention to stay in Texas for one year, get my “wiggles” out, and then return to normal.

Except normal isn’t a thing anymore. The place I left won’t be there when I go back. My people are growing, changing and shifting into their new roles in life… as they should. We are all figuring out what it means to be real adults—new jobs, new boys, new adventures.

The only constant thing in life is change, and although every part of my nesting self wants to deny it, there’s a momentous freedom in rolling with it.

Texas, with its warm air and wide sunsets has become my home. I have fallen for Austin, with its endless bike routes, swimming holes that make these 105 days tolerable and so many tacos it makes sense to eat them for every meal. This town has swallowed me up and enveloped me in the biggest, sweatiest hug.

I now dream of days riding my red bicycle on the east side, taking pictures when I feel inspired and eating popsicles by the train tracks. My future is my sister and I making cupcakes in the kitchen, walking the pups before the sun rises and watching her nanny boys grow into little men.

I’m here because I chose to start something new. I’m here because life felt hard, and now it doesn’t. I’m here because I goddamn want to be.

Amen to choices, change and new starts.

Garden Fresh Pesto

  • 2 cups firmly packed basil
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • Salt and pepper to taste

I got this recipe from Choosing Raw, one of those amazing food blogs I follow.

Put the basil, walnuts and garlic in a food processor and pulse to combine. Keep the motor running and drizzle the olive oil in a thin stream. Add in the salt, pepper, lemon and nutritional yeast and pulse until everything is combined. I ate mine with some quinoa pasta that I mixed with sun-dried tomatoes, spinach and kalamata olives. It was amazing. Vegan pesto… yes, please.

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Secrets & Eggs

I have put all my eggs in one basket.

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Let’s pretend my eggs are this beautiful, perfectly speckled against a backdrop of warm earth. My basket is lined with a cream colored tea towel. This basket is worn down after routine weekend trips to the market.

I imagine this basket to be overwhelmingly full of things I adore. Rainbow carrots with fresh green tops. Ruby red beets the size of small fists. If there was a special occasion there’d be a loaf of bread, adorned like artwork, balancing amongst the greens.

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To put all your energy into something like this is delicate and heartbreaking. It’s like being upside down on the monkey bars.

Dizzying. Terrifying. Thrilling.

Once again I find myself with all my eggs, cautiously waiting.

Chard and Kale Frittata

  • 1 bunch swiss chard
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

We’re moving (hip hip!) which means I won’t have to attempt to take pictures in the horribly dark, cave like kitchen. On April 1st we’re moving to the east side. I’ll be able to walk to work, we’ll be near our favorite bike shop. We can walk to good restaurants and be closer to good friends. It’s going to be a refreshing way to start the spring. It also means that I will have moved 5 times in 6 months. Ugh. Needless to say, I seek my sanity and routine in the kitchen.

This is a great dish to eat for Sunday brunch, reheat for a quick lunch and then eat again at dinner (if you’re feeling like staying away from cave like kitchens, that is.)

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a cast iron skillet over medium high heat, saute the onions for 3-5 minutes. Add in the garlic and saute for another 2 minutes. While those are cooking, prepare your greens. I de-stem my kale, and leave the stalks on the chard (they’re too beautiful!) Chop all of the greens up together, and toss them into to saute until they start to wilt.

Whisk your eggs (and if you want to, you can add cheese), 1/2 tsp salt and black pepper together in a bowl. Pour over the greens. Gently nudge the greens around to evenly distribute the eggs. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the egg mixture. Bake in the oven until eggs are set and the top of the tart is tinged golden brown, about 45 minutes. If desired, run the tart under the broiler to further brown the top for 1 minute.

Enjoy.